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ACOSS responds to Shorten’s call for Newstart Allowance increase

Dr Cassandra Goldie from the Australian Council of Social Services (ACOSS) has responded to the Labor government’s call that the Newstart rate is “too low”

The Australian Council of Social Services (ACOSS) has welcomed the Opposition Leader’s acknowledgement that the Newstart rate is too low to live on, but calls on both major parties to make a real commitment to change.

ACOSS CEO, Dr Cassandra Goldie, said: “We welcome Mr Shorten’s acknowledgement of what has been clear to the community, unions, business and experts for a long time – that $39 a day is not enough to cover the basics of life.

“We need more than a review,” Goldie added. “We don’t need a review to know that Newstart is trapping people in poverty. We need a clear commitment to immediately increase the single rate of Newstart by at least $75 a week.”

Goldie said there is a broad agreement across the community, business groups and the union movement – as well as a growing number of politicians, including the Greens, Labor Chief Ministers, Independents and Mayors as well as John Howard and John Hewson – that the rate should finally be lifted.

“Most people receiving Newstart live below the poverty line. It is very hard to look for a job when you don’t know where your next meal is coming from or how to put food on the table for your kids,” Goldie said.

She added that people cannot afford to wait for relief while a review is carried out and the Morrison government should act immediately to increase the single rate of Newstart. Goldie said the Shorten Opposition government should also commit to raising Newstart by at least $75 should it win government in the next election.

“Many of us are job less or a relationship break down away from relying on our social security safety net and 70 per cent of voters believe Newstart should be increased.

“Politicians must heed the calls from right across the community on the need for a decent social security net,” Goldie said.

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